My Konica Experience : LUSENET : Konica 35mm SLRs : One Thread

To Whom It May Concern! I have "discovered" Konica by trying a Hexar rangefinder - the image quality was stunning! I have always been "a Pentax devotee" and done all of my shooting on Pentax 645 MF and have not considered 35mm format seriously! There is a lot of good Konica stuff in Sweden (where I am located) and I have managed to get hold of 2 (almost) new Konica FT-1 bodies and a handfull of AR Hexanon lenses - all of my stuff has been tested and checked by Konica service here (they still have a lot of spare parts and offer excellent and pro service)! After shooting some 50 rolls I am very much impressed by the quality this "old" stuff delivers. I have tried different brands of film (both slides and colour negatives, giving almost pro quality, even enlarged to 24 x 30 cm) - my choice no 1 is FUJI REALA - tremendous contrast of this film makes up for somewhat less contrasty Hexanon lesnes. Choice nr 2 is: for prints Kodak Royal Gold 200 (the new one), for slides Fuji Velvia. Forget all the rest! FT-1 bodies: exposure meter is extremely accurate (when properly adjusted) and virtually foolproof in 95% of real-life conditions. I actually set ASA dial on 80 to give me a very slight overexposure and this extra bright "edge" - but it is a matter of taste! Just choose your appropriate shutter speed and forget all the problems - you can4t go wrong! AR Hexanon lenses: forget the NEW, lightweight Hexar versions, if you can find them buy ONLY "older" AR Hexanon models. Here are some of my, SUBJECTIVE, comments (I4ve tried, almost, ALL Konica lenses that they4ve made) or rather a TOP LIST of Hexanon lenses, I think, are worth having: 28/1.8 UC (ultra compact) + metal hood (best at f/11 and f/8, extremely sharp and contrasty) 35/2.8 (f/16 version) + metal hood (all apertures very good, almost as sharp as 28/1.8) 50/1.4 +metal hood (sharpest at f/8, all others very good) 85/1.8 + metal hood (very sharp at F/5.6, good at f/8, so-so at others) 300/4.5 (built-in hood, sharpest at f/11, good at f/8, so-so at others) 35-70/3.5 + 62mm metal hood (almost as sharp as prime lenses for this range at f/8, good at others) 70-150/4 (built-in hood) extremely sharp for a zoom lens, best at f/8, very good on 5.6 and 11) This is the set-up I am currently using and the image quality obtainable CAN be, in most cases, compared to 4.5 x 6 Pentax formatt. I have tried various UV/Sky filters, including best models fron B+W and Hoya Super - in my oppinion all of them do NOTHING to improve /help the quality, on the contrary, I can detect a slight degradation! So, NO FILTERS on Hexanon lenses. Just use hoods and caps and be careful! I would be delighted to hear some comments from other Konica users. If I can be of help in any other way please drop me an e-mail. Andrzej Poniatowski (Sweden) e-mail:

-- Anonymous, October 04, 1997


Andrzej: Thanks for sharing your experiences. You are correct on the Hexar series of lenses. My information is that there were three Hexars; 28mm f/3.5, 50mm f/1.8, and 135mm f/3.5. These were offered as lower priced alternatives to the Hexanon line. Yes, some of the older Hexanons are to be preferred to newer models. The older 28mm f/3.5 has one element more than the most recent 28mm f/3.5. The same is true when comp- aring the 135mm Hexanons; the f/3.2 has one element more than the f/3.5.

-- Anonymous, October 09, 1997

In addition to the 3 Hexar lenses mentioned,I saw a 4/200 Hexar at a local flea market,but declined to buy it beacause of the condition and price

-- Anonymous, October 10, 1997

I have used Konica cameras and lenses for nearly 20 years. I have tried many, sold and bought, resold and bought again. If you want speed you will pay for it, but if you want a bargain here are some suggestions:

28F3.5 Excellent at F8/F11. This lens is not as fast as the 28 F1.8UC but delivers.

40mm F1.8 Sharp compact and really nice especially at F8.

50mm F1.4 I prefer the F1.4 new version. Older one is ok, 1.7 is so-so to good, and 57mm 1.2 is overrated.

85 F1.8 Excellent. Great portrait lens. Wide open its good best at f8 and F11.

135mm F3.2 Best of the bunch. The F2.5 is large and suffers from flare problems albeit sharp, and the F3.5 is adequate. The F3.2 is as close focusing as the F2.5 and no flare problem but you have to live with a slightly slower lens.

80-200F4UC - Superb, close focusing and this is the one to get. Better than the F3.5 old version and better close focusing too. The color rendition is better too.

Non-Konica lens that are hard to come by but worth looking for in a K/AR mount: Sigma 21-35 F3.5-4.2 - Superb small zoom. Tokina ATX 28-85 F3.5-4.5 - Treat it like a F4 lens for flash and it will amaze you. I fouind mune for $85. Tokina ATX 828 80-200mm F2.8 in K/AR mount. AHrd to find, can be expensive (mine was in ok shape at $215, and I have seen them sell even in K/AR mount for as high as $325) to buy but an incredible performer if you need the speed. If not, then go for a Vivitar 70-210mm F3.5 original with the 67mm filter. Superb lens at middle apertures and sells for about $100 - $125.

-- Anonymous, December 22, 1997

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